PaperCity Magazine

PaperCity Dallas September 2023

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Page 172 of 179

• Fraud. Fraud generally occurs in one of two ways. Either an individual intentionally misrepresents something or they intentionally fail to reveal something, causing you harm. They trick you with their words or trick you with silence. "If fraud or waste is actually discovered, one of the most important first steps is making sure that you have comprehensively identified the full extent of the improper conduct," B u d n e r s a y s . "That requires evaluating the documents and i n f o r m a t i o n you have and assessing what a d d i t i o n a l a v e n u e s e x i s t to build a full picture of what's t r a n s p i r e d . Sometimes that first discovery can lead to a cascading effect of more and more. Using Discovery Tools in Divorce W h i l e p e o p l e often think of divorce litigation a s a rg u m e n t s m a d e i n a courtroom, most litigation is won or lost long before a case goes to trial. One of the most important aspects of litigation is the discovery phase, which is the fact-finding, investigative part of the process. During the discovery phase, both sides have tools available to them to try to give themselves the upper hand. If you're dealing with fraud or waste by your spouse, aggressive yet strategic discovery is paramount. Asking the right questions at the right time in the right way can tip the scales in your case. Attorneys can request specific documents, pose written questions, and hold depositions where witnesses are required to answer verbal questions under oath. When attorneys know what to ask and how to follow up on a potential weakness, they can uncover valuable information that will support their clients' objectives while undercutting arguments raised by the other side. What, How, and Why? When approaching the discovery process in divorce, it's helpful to consider what you need, how you are going to get it, and why you need it. Knowing what you need requires considerable experience. For instance, if you are looking for information t h a t w i l l e x p o s e flaws in the methodology o r a n a l y s i s used by the o t h e r s i d e , your attorney must be able t o i d e n t i f y the types of d o c u m e n t s or questions t h a t w i l l provide this information. Knowing how t o o b t a i n information is next. Once you identify what you are looking for, your attorney needs to find the best way to collect it — t h r o u g h requests for documents, admissions, interrogatories, depositions, or some combination of methods. It is critical to have an attorney experienced in complex discovery who has the tenacity to push for the information you need. You cannot assume that a spouse that is hiding information is going to hand it over easily — so you need a lawyer who will fight for the evidence. Knowledge and information alone are not enough. Your lawyer needs to understand why that information is critical to your case and how to deploy that information to your advantage. This requires a skilled advocate who knows how to synthesize and package information to accomplish your objectives. Reaching the Finish Line Information gained during discovery can be used to build leverage to settle a case, or the information can be used to present persuasive arguments in court. Either way, the effective use of the discovery process may be what wins your case. Make sure you select a divorce attorney who knows how to effectively navigate the discovery process. At Calabrese Budner, our legal team has litigation experience that few family law attorneys can match, and we put the full range of our combined expertise to work for you every time. We craft information into persuasive arguments and know how to effectively present those arguments to the judge at each stage, from the initial pleadings to closing arguments. 5944 Luther Lane #875 Dallas, TX 75225 214.939.3000 PAPERCITY PROMOTION Lee Budner I honed my litigation skill set as a commercial litigator, particularly in dealing with complicated discovery issues for which strategic planning is essential — Lee Budner 171

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